On the Yosemite National Park web site, two rangers are writing updates about the rugged high-country winter in Yosemite National Park. It is fascinating if you enjoy reading about the outdoors.
The rangers are a married couple, Laura and Rob Pilewski. They are wintering over at Tuolumne Meadows, and from their accounts of the experience, they love their jobs.
Here’s what they posted the day after New Year’s:
“Most of our week was spent on Tioga Pass. We saw a very ambitious set of coyote tracks that explored Gaylor Peak ridge all the way down to Tioga Lake though very deep snow. Weasel and pine marten tracks were seen between there and Tuolumne as well. The most notable sighting was a colorful flock of over 20 male (red) and female (yellow-green) red crossbills flying over Dana Meadow at sunset, peacefully ringing in the New Year as they passed overhead.”
For some people, that experience beats Times Square by quite a bit.
But the Sierra at 8,000 and 9,000 feet can be pretty unforgiving in December and January. The latest update says the low temperature two days after Christmas was minus 13.
The rangers stay in a cabin at Tuolumne Meadows, park officials said. They ski back to civilization occasionally for supplies, but mostly they are working — checking utilities, doing wildlife surveys, assisting with measuring the snowpack and watching the park’s buildings in the high country.